Most of our boxes are unpacked. The bookshelves are full of yummy books. The couches are in place begging us to fall into them. Pictures are starting to find their rightful places on our walls.
And our hearts have started to hurt again.
We are thrilled our stuff is here. But all of it reminds us of what we left when we said goodbye to Salem...or better yet, who we left.
Our girls have a sweet friend in Salem. She is 5 years older than Katelyn, but age never mattered to either her or my girls. She is also a very godly young lady. By her example, she continually taught them feminine grace. I will forever be thankful for her influence on their young lives. They enjoyed many times together...picking flowers after church, borrowing babies from their mothers for a bit, reading in the Library, sewing in the back room and tea parties...lots of tea parties...
As we were packing up our container, she handed the girls a box and said, "Don't open it until you are in Uganda." So into the container it went. The hunt for the special box commenced the night our container arrived and our living room was a mess. We didn't manage to find it until yesterday. But as soon as we saw it, the girls took it to the table and quite ceremoniously...handling it as the special treasure that it was...opened it.
It was a beautiful tea set...complete with tea bags, napkins, fans and paper flowers.
I couldn't stay. I left the kids, walked back to my room, and cried a very.hard.cry. My girls have no one here to fill that gap. I hurt for them.
Later that night, Katelyn and I sat on the couch and had another good cry. She misses her dear friend. She knows that her friend will be all grown up the next time she sees her. As our family sat around the dinner table, we admitted to each other that while we are glad our things are here, it is very hard to see them here. While we have known it in our minds, for the first time since we left, we are faced with the visible, stark reality that this is, in fact, our new home. It is not just a vacation or a short trip. Salem is no longer home. It is here.
This is the paradox of moving so far away...so don't mis-understand. We are still very excited to be here. And it is still very hard to not be in Salem. But, this is exactly what makes us throw ourselves back on God. And he is so faithful. I know he will provide deep friendships for us here...it will just take some time and in the meantime...we trust, we serve, we love and we are reminded that this world is not our home.
And then then we get out their tea set. And Katelyn, Rebecca, Tessa and I sit for a cup of tea. We giggle and we stick our pinkies in the air and we talk with a funny accent and we let our hearts feel a twinge of pain because we know that the Lord will be the one to heal it.